eMusic Review 0
Based around the keening, dramatically interwoven harmonies of sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank, spectral British folk band the Unthanks won a Mercury Music Prize nomination for their 2007 debut The Bairns (recorded under their previous moniker of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset) and have since enchanted and enthralled an ever-widening fan base. They have never been shy of voyaging beyond the traditional folk canon, having sung songs by artists as various as Tom Waits and King Crimson, and in December 2010 played two evenings of covers of Robert Wyatt and Antony & the Johnsons at London’s Union Chapel, releasing this live souvenir of the concerts a year later.
Tackling two venerated cult artists could be seen as an audacious undertaking but it works magnificently because all three artists share a mercurial, maverick sensibility. Rachel and Becky locate the stark, queasy ethereality at the tender heart of Antony’s “Bird Gerhl” while their sibling status lends fortuitous new levels of interpretation to “You Are My Sister.” They forge a different connection entirely with the quirky, politicised Wyatt, and his trumpet-driven anthem for Palestine, “Dondestan,” and the monumentally yearning “Sea Song” are memorable highlights of this idiosyncratic yet hugely vital album. The… read more »